At a meeting in Sochi on February 14 the triumvirate of Turkey, Iran and Russia joined hands again on Syria policy, releasing a policy statement and agreeing to hold more meetings in Astana and Turkey soon. It follows on meetings they held last year designed to work closely on Syria policy and exclude the US from the post-Syria conflict discussions.
The full text is interesting to see in total:
‘Joint Statement by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Turkey
‘(Sochi, 14 February 2019); ‘President of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gathered in Sochi on 14 February 2019 for a Tripartite Summit.
1. Discussed the current situation on the ground in Syria, took stock of the developments following their last meeting in Tehran on 7 September 2018 and underscored their determination to strengthen the trilateral coordination in light of their agreements.
2. Emphasized their strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
3. Highlighted that these principles should be universally respected and that no actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine them.
4. Rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries.
5. Took note in this regard that the US decision on the withdrawal of its forces from Syria, if implemented, would be a step that would help strengthen stability and security in the country in compliance with the above-mentioned principles.
6. Examined in details the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area, denounced and expressed serious concern with the attempts of the terrorist organization “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” to increase its control over the area, and agreed to effectively counter these attempts as well as to take concrete steps to reduce violations in the Idlib de-escalation area through full implementation of the agreements on Idlib, including the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-escalation Area of 17 September 2018. They also reaffirmed the determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council.
7. Discussed the situation in the north-east of Syria and agreed to coordinate their activities to ensure security, safety and stability in this area including through existing agreements, while respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
8. Reaffirmed their conviction that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it could only be resolved through the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
9. Reaffirmed their determination to facilitate the launch of the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible, including by agreeing on its composition and elaborating recommendations for its rules of procedure based on the work undertaken by the three guarantors. They emphasized in this regard the importance of continuing interaction and coordination with the Syrian parties and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen.
10. Welcomed the successful development of the second mutual release of detainees within the framework of efforts of the respective Working Group. The releases that took place on 24 November 2018 and 12 February 2019 constituted important contribution of the Astana format to building confidence between the Syrian parties and creating necessary conditions for advancing the political process.
11. Emphasized the need to continue all efforts to help all Syrians restore normal and peaceful life as well as alleviate their sufferings. In this regard, they called upon the international community, particularly the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies, to increase their assistance to Syria by providing additional humanitarian aid, restoring humanitarian infrastructure assets, including water and power supply facilities, schools and hospitals.
12. Highlighted the importance of creating conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria. They assessed positively the interaction with all interested parties, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and reaffirmed their readiness to continue this coordination.
13. Agreed to assign their representatives with the task of holding the next International Meeting on Syria in Astana in April 2019.
14. In addition to the Syrian issue, discussed recent developments in the world as well as their collaboration in different fields and decided to boost joint economic and commercial cooperation.
15. Condemned the recent terrorist attack in Iran (Sistan-Balouchestan Province). President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed their condolences to the families of the victims of this attack and sympathy with the people and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
16. Decided to hold the next Tripartite Summit in the Republic of Turkey upon the invitation of President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
17. The Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey expressed their sincere gratitude to President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin for hosting the Tripartite Summit in Sochi.’
Iran condemns US support of “terror”
Iran claimed the US was supporting terror and alluded to conspiracies that the US supports ISIS.
He said “reliable reports” show that the US has assisted the terrorists enlisted with the Takfiri group of Daesh in traveling around in Syria and also helped some of them leave the country for Afghanistan.
Turkish media highlighted the importance of the meetings for Turkey.
On the restoration of peace in Syria, Putin described the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian efforts as “significant”.
The next is to form a committee on the Syrian constitution in order to define the future organization of the political system in Syria, he added.
“The success of the political process in Syria will help further normalize Damascus’ relations with the Arab countries, restore its membership in the Arab League, and serve the interests of strengthening security and stability in the Middle East.”
Turkey seems keen to work closer with Iran and Russia going forward, even as the US was hosting a confab in Warsaw and as the US was preparing for the Munich security conference